Over the last few years, the use of social media has increased dramatically. More than half of the world's population use some form of social media.
In 2020, the UK went into a national lockdown and many people went on furlough, resulting in an abundance of free time. Partly due to a lack of social interaction, time spent on social media surged with the average user spending more than 4 hours scrolling through different apps to pass the time. There are many advantages to using social media for your organisation, and pharmaceutical businesses have increasingly started understanding this new way of connecting with people through social media.
So, what’s changed?
Previously the FDA in the US has restricted Pharmaceutical companies from releasing certain content on online platforms, particularly concerning the liabilities they may face in connection with posts from third parties on information regarding specific drugs. However, times are changing and so are regulations. “Overly restrictive regulations are being updated as governments, healthcare professionals and industry realise that their patient populations may be the most powerful source of data ever,” says Page. “It’s a source that will allow for even more profound advances in medicine, benefiting both society and the research and development teams trying to create new blockbusters.”
The importance of social media in the pharma industry is stronger now than ever, and many users turn to social media for medical advice. 18-24 year olds are more likely to look at social media for answers than older generations, so it’s important that organisations cater for this imbalance to reach a wider audience. A Mediabistro survey showed that more than 40% of people are influenced by social networks in their health choices. Recently, even older generations are looking to social media for medical advice due to COVID-19 restrictions. Social media can be used to get information, make comparisons, ask questions and to look for answers.
So, what are the advantages of utilising social media in your company strategy?
Effective use of social media allows your company to show your targeted audience relevant and informative posts about your organisation. It can give your audience an insight into your business, share your core values and mission as a company, help build relationships with new clients, and strengthen relationships with existing clients in a more casual way. During this past year it has been especially hard for companies to build new relationships face-to-face, so utilising a platform where you can connect with your audience has been invaluable.
With people spending more time on social media, misinformation can be spread quickly, especially regarding information concerning COVID-19. It can be hard to distinguish credible sources from fake ones. Pharmaceutical companies can combat this by sharing the right information, steering people towards reliable, credible, trustworthy platforms like themselves.
Social media is a great way to attract new and existing clients. Many Pharmaceutical companies rely on word of mouth however, using social media makes sure that there is hard evidence about your good work and it is reaching a wider audience, in turn establishing credibility. Having existing clients and customers leave reviews about their positive experience working with your business can attract new clientele, as you are creating an online presence that establishes you as a trustworthy and credible organisation.
Sharing relevant articles or news posts on social media is an effective way to send people over to your website, which is ultimately where you want people to end up to find out more about what you can offer as an organisation. If people are actively clicking on articles or posts you are sharing, it means that they are interested in your brand and what you have to offer. Providing varied and consistent content can keep your audience engaged on social media, and thus more likely to engage with your website and to partner with your organisation.
Overall, it is clear that social media isn’t going away any time soon, especially due to the pandemic and it’s surge over lockdown, so it’s all about utilising the platform to best advantage your business. Although there are FDA regulations to consider, these are continuously changing due to the growing use and high demand of social media. Pharmaceutical companies can still use these platforms to their advantage to attract new clients, interact with existing ones and offer an insight into their business and culture. All of this has undoubtedly been more difficult to do in real life recently, and social media should be embraced by this industry to continue to grow and develop.
Mantell Associates is a specialist Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences Recruitment organisation. To find out how we can help with your recruiting needs, get in touch with the team on +44 (0)20 3778 0990.